Many women in Kenya would love to avoid pregnancies and space births but are not using contraceptives due to opposition by their partners or husbands, fear of side effects and other religious reasons.
For the majority of women in Lolupe village in Turkana county in Kenya, it is almost impossible to convince them about the efficacy of modern contraceptives and family planning methods, as they believe that those scientific methods have chemicals that could give cancer and destroy the womb.
According to a report published by local media Daily Nation, many of these women have resorted to what may be described as the improbable – goat oil.
The interesting development is their husbands are not aware that they are using the oil for birth control apart from its basic use for cooking, oiling the skin and animal hides.
There is no scientific evidence or experiment to demonstrate the effectiveness of the goat oil but the women argue that since time immemorial, this traditional method has produced positive results.
The average woman in Turkana gives birth to seven children on average, statistics say, with only ten percent of women of reproductive age, that is, 15 to 49 years, using any contraceptive.
Lobukre Kakalel is a 50-year-old woman who has been using the goat oil since she decided to stop giving birth following her fifth child.
She married a pastoralist at the age of 15, who would leave in search of pasture and water for their herds and would come back to impregnate her. He would then leave again to look for pasture and water.
“He never left us anything to eat. I struggled with my children all by myself until I realised that enough was enough,” she was quoted in the report.
How the goat oil works
The milk is put in a gourd and left untouched for four nights for fear that touching it will not make it work.
On the fifth day, the women boil the cream and leave it to cool, after which they administer droplets of it in the mouth four times with a stick.
Naked, these women twirl the container with the cream around their bodies four times while telling it to shut the womb with the belief that their forefathers will grant their wish.
The report added that in order to shut the womb for good, the woman is supposed to mix the cream with the faeces of a donkey and then leave it in the goat’s shed for four days, with nobody allowed to touch it.
Young women are not advised to use the method as the results are permanent, meaning it is only recommended for those who have had their desired number of children.